I remember when the Oklahoma beheading incident took place, back in September of 2014. At the time, I, like many others, was posting things on FaceBook as they came across my newsfeed about this incident. Many people reacted to it with horror. Many more reacted with disbelief. Some thought it was a hoax.
This surprised me a little. After all, FaceBook has a tendency to filter your friends list down to people somewhat predisposed to thinking like you. Obviously it doesn’t always do that; but birds of a feather, ya know. I’ve had a lot of people “unfriend me” over the years and a whole bunch block me, too. I kind of figured by that point the ones that were left thought a lot like I did about this stuff. So, I was surprised at the reaction and the number of people who told me they thought it was “nothing.” Many insisted it must have been an isolated incident, and CERTAINLY not related to Islam, like they were spinning it on the TV to be something it really wasn’t – maybe for ratings, or who know what other reason.
Now, I remember one friend on Facebook reacting to it by saying it was “part of the conspiracy to brainwash us and make us afraid.” But I’ve since found out that he is one of a large handful of “facebook friends” I have who also believes in a flat earth; so, in retrospect, I shouldn’t have been so surprised that he reacted to this the way he did. It seems to me that anyone who believes the earth is flat (especially his flavor of this concept) is not the best at deductive reasoning. I love him dearly, nonetheless. But he just wasn’t buying into it, regardless of the news reports out of Oklahoma.
Some People Think Nothing Is As The Media Tells Us
He thinks the whole world is different than the way it is presented to us by “the powers that be.” He thinks we are bombarded consistently by a narrative from the media about the way things are in the world that is designed to distract us from reality. (Not an EXACT quote, but close enough to say it’s the EXACT IDEA he introduced to the conversation.) And there are people who think it’s a hoax; and that this, like everything else, is a zionist conspiracy to lie to people and manipulate them. (There is no end to stupid, it seems….)
Ironically, I agree with him. I just see a much different reality and a much different narrative presented by the media to mask that reality than he does.
For the record, I don’t believe in a flat earth. And I don’t think that everything promoted on the media is done by people bent on keeping us slaves to buying more stuff. There are too many differences of opinion about various things and too many competing interests for it to be controlled that tightly.
But I do believe media people have predispositions (like everyone else) that can’t help but “filter” what they promote as newsworthy and what they downplay or ignore, simply because they fail to connect the dots the same way I do. And since the media seems to be ruled by liberals, and since liberals tend to want to silence the opposition because it’s the easiest way to quench ideas that disagree with them, they tend to lean the same way on a lot of things. They just don’t let anybody else into the club to play the game, if they can help it.
They mostly leaned the same way on this one, also.
But seeing it as a spin to say that the government hyped this to justify the war on ISIS seems totally opposite to the way the government usually spins things on the “radical Islam” issue. My observation is that they seem to go out of their way to say that it’s not Islam; that Islam is a “religion of peace.”
And quite frankly, I’m on a bit of a mission here to convince people that the government and law enforcement spin was wrong, and they you to see it my way. Because, I’m right. (I’m entitled to an opinion like everyone else, right?)
I still maintain that I was right about the Oklahoma beheader. He was not just a whack-job going off in an incident of workplace violence. It was violence in the workplace. But it wasn’t just a guy who who was mad as hell and just couldn’t take it anymore.
The guy who beheaded the woman at work was a devout Muslim convert. And he was not a lone wolf; at least, not ideologically, anyway.
And I can already hear the backlash oozing in my direction, both from the liberals who may by chance read this article and the well-meaning and more peaceful Muslims who believe Islam is truly and only a “religion of peace.”
It’s not. It’s a religion of conquest as much as a religion of peace. You can spin it and spiritualize it all you want to say jihad is about the internal struggle with your sin nature or something. But Mohammed’s direct associates continued a campaign of killing and mayhem after he died. And they were doing what they were doing because they believed the prophet had THAT as his intention. As much as Christians look to the early disciples who spent three years with Jesus to be the best reference point for understanding who Jesus was and what his message was, it is fair to look to Mohammed’s followers for the same understanding of what THEY thought Mohammed’s message was all about.
Please here me. I understand there are moderate Muslims out there who read the Quran in a way that they feel is both consistent and peaceful. (See, for instance, this link: http://www.answering-islam.org/Authors/Arlandson/jihad.htm). They would see it as a religion of peace, unless war is justified. And while I would say to them that I see the bulk of Islamic scholarship disagreeing with them that Islam is a religion of “live and let live, each and everyone equals,” I commend them for “finding” this message in the Quran. I don’t see it; but I’m not from that background and I will defer to their better judgement. They, in the end, answer to almighty God for how they live, and if they truly want for us all to live in peace, I stand with them in that desire.
So, since peaceful Muslims are Muslim and I am not, I would let them have their say on the issue. I wouldn’t want them telling me what Christianity is all about, and not letting me respond; unless, of course, they can show me from the bible where they get their points. If they did and I saw it necessary to agree with them that they interpreted the bible properly and I did not, I would do well to admit that they had it right and I had it wrong. And I should do that, even if they don’t believe my book.
We all need to bow our knee to truth, no matter how it comes to us or by whom it comes.
But I’ve also said it before, and I will stand by the statement: these ISIS fighters find THEIR message in the same Quran; they find a different message in the book than does the peaceful Muslim. And they do not find that message in the book because they believe it LESS; they find it there because they read it carefully, earnestly and with a dedicated effort to follow what they believe it says. I would dare say that the radical Muslim often has a higher level of belief in the integrity of the Quran than many moderate Muslims who pick a message of peace out of the book, disregarding the gnarly bits they don’t like.
As I’ve also said before, calling ISIS radical Islam is, in my opinion, like calling the Pope a radical Catholic. That’s the point. They do what they do BECAUSE they feel that the Quran TELLS them to do what they do.
I Wish The Oklahoma Beheader Was A Lone Wolf
But ideologically speaking, the facts never seemed to support that position for anybody but the people who WANTED that to be the case. There have been enough of these, with the same patterns, the same knee-jerk reactions of the media to try to drive a false dichotomy between the actions of these people and “the religion of peace.”
What about the Nidal Hasan, the psychiatrist in the army who shot up a bunch of soldiers at Fort Hood in 2009? What about the guy in Ottawa who shot and killed the soldier guarding the tomb of the unknown soldier? What about the guy who ran down the two soldiers in Quebec? What about the couple in California who killed all the people in the community center?
If Only They Could Be Lone Wolves. But There Are SO MANY That It’s Hard To Picture Them As ALONE.
People WANT the Oklahoma guy to be a lone wolf, the Ottawa guy another lone wolf, the California folks another couple of lone wolves; they want them to be people who don’t believe in true Islam; they want these to be workplace violence issues, or mental health issues, or disenfranchised maniacs who are deceived about the message of the Quran and “wrongly read a peaceful book” as inciting violence.
In short, they WANT it to be something – ANYTHING – that will allow them to be able to hide in their bubble and be able to feel safe by rationalizing that this is NOT something that could affect them. In the end, I believe this rationalization about Islam as always being a religion of peace and the idea that every TRUE Muslim is a peaceful Muslim is a desire to be able to feel safe and comfortable – to not have to recognize the size and scope of a problem gaining on us like a velociraptor in the rear view mirror on a casual Sunday drive through Jurassic Park.
You identify wolves as a species when you can see enough of them to identify that they have a set of identifiable characteristics.
If it’s workplace violence, then it must have been some altercation between them. I can handle that because I don’t deal with any crazies in my workplace. That lady might have died, but he was crazy. So the head being lopped off was due to craziness, not Islam. So, because I don’t know any crazies where I work, and Islam is a religion of peace, I’m still safe. It “couldn’t” happen to me.
If it’s a terrorist attack, that’s usually in a crazy place like the Middle East. THEY have crazy people. (Keep in mind they’re muslim nations, but STILL… that’s over THERE.) Yeah, these “lone wolf” attacks in the US are “crazies,” too. But they’re so rare. They’re “lone wolves.” I’m still good.
Nothing to worry about. Yet.
So We Just Hold Our Breath And Hope It Goes Away.
The fact is that even if these people are “lone wolves” in the sense that none of them ever got direct marching orders from ISIS, they are all singing from the same song sheet. They all march to the beat of the same jihadic drummer in their heads. The common thread here is that they all believe what they believe because they believe that it is in the Quran and they are required to follow that book; and THAT book, RIGHT NOW, is telling them in our country, we are the infidel and we need to convert or die.
And until we get past the mentality that says we need to think of all the peaceful Muslims as the REAL Muslims and the radical Muslims as the “NOT REAL Muslims,” we are never going to be able to embrace the true problem here.
I love Muslim people.
I really do. I know some, and the ones I know, as far as I know, want peace. They want to co-exist. They are warm people. They are passionate about what they believe, but want PEACE. They hate ISIS and what it is doing, corrupting what they believe is a peaceful book, when it is rightly interpreted.
But seeing the real problem – this real problem that ISIS believes the same book, but interprets it differently – is the first step in fixing the problem. We need to focus on getting this message out until people stop believing what they WANT to believe about it, and start to acknowledge the depth and breadth of the problem.
Because the ones who see the “radical” message in the book are already acting in faith and religious fervor with an eye on the end-game. And we haven’t even learned what the rules are. We need to learn fast – and learn on our knees – how to love like Jesus loved so they can see the difference between the true and the false, or we are going to get creamed before we even get in the game.